198 HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION Up to this time his course had been directed towards the priest- hood, but sometime about his twenty-fourth year he underwent a mysterious sudden conversion, the effect of which was to make him a devoted Protestant and to turn his studies from the classics to the Bible. Before he was twenty-six he published the first edition of his great Institutes of the Christian Religion, and im- mediately took his place as one of the foremost exponents of Protestant doctrine. Two years later, in 1536, when fleeing from persecution in his native France, he abandoned his private studies to help to establish Protestantism in Geneva, and so found almost by chance the career of his life. At the time of his arrival the new faith had triumphed in the city. The whole community was professedly Protestant, and nominally at least accepted the Bible as the supreme authority in all matters of life and doctrine. But both in State and Church there was still much confusion. Calvin saw in this situation the possibility of a new political and religious order in which the State would be governed in accordance with Christian principles, and the Church as a self-governing body would exercise full control in everything that pertained to religion and morals. The rest of his life was spent in a strenuous endeavour to realize this ideal. From the beginning of his work he recognized the fundamental importance of education as an instrument for the promotion of religion in individual and social life. In the Articles on Church government presented to the magistrates by Farel and himself in 1537, the year after his arrival, there were many references to the training of the children in matters of religion. Not only were the children to sing psalms for an hour a day in the school so as to be able to lead the congregation in public worship, but all of them were to be taught " a brief and easy outline of the Christian faith " at home on which they were afterwards to be catechized by the ministers. But though the religious side of education was prominent in all Calvin's plans, he also saw the need for a secular education. " Although we accord the first place to the Word of God," he said in a prospectus of the elementary schools written by him in conjunction with his old teacher, Mathurin Cordier, who had come to Geneva to lend his aid in school work, " we do not reject good training. The Word of God is indeed the foundation of all learning, but the liberal arts are aids to the full knowledge of the Word and not to be despised,"